Sensibility deficiencies in the hands of children with spastic hemiplegia

Ann E. Van Heest, James House, Matthew Putnam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


We evaluated 40 children with spastic hemiplegia due to cerebral palsy for sensory function and relative limb size in the affected and unaffected upper extremities. Sensory function of each limb was evaluated with respect to stereognosis (12 objects), two-point discrimination, and proprioception. Four size measurements of each limb were made: arm and forearm circumference and forearm and forearm-hand length. This study showed that 97% of the spastic limbs had a stereognosis deficit, 90% had a two-point discrimination deficit, and 46% had a proprioception deficit. Thus sensory deficits are the rule rather than the exception in children with spastic hemiplegia. Those children with severe stereognosis deficits had significantly smaller limbs in all four measurement parameters than the children with mild or moderate stereognosis deficits. In the preoperative evaluation of children with spastic hemiplasia, severe size discrepancy is a physical examination tool that can be used as a predictor of severe sensory deficits. This information is helpful for the hand surgeon in establishing realistic surgical goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-281
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1993


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